With this investment, the business is installing additional vacuum packaging, co-products processing technology and extending the secondary processing area at the South Canterbury plant, which will boost the processing efficiency by up to 20%.
In June, the co-operative announced improvements to its Dannevirke plant, which will increase capacity by 20% and create jobs for 35 additional staff. The project in the southern Hawke’s Bay is due to get underway next month.
David Surveyor, chief executive of Alliance Group, said the investment at Smithfield is another step forward in the company’s transformation strategy.
“We are in a position to invest in our plants to support our farmers, our people and the communities we operate in. This reflects our commitment to strengthening our processing capabilities and maximising our operational performance across our plant network.
“The major gains at Smithfield will come from the reconfiguration of secondary processing facility at the plant. This will include additional vacuum capacity and conveyors, which will significantly improve the product flow. These changes will result in greater efficiencies at the plant and benefit farmers.”
Surveyor added that it would be good for the local economy.
“As a co-operative, we are focused on maximising the value created for New Zealand farmers. We remain focused on lifting the performance and productivity of all our plants,” he said. “This investment is great news for Timaru and the South Canterbury region with the plant employing 500 people at peak season.”
Alliance recently appointed Karen Morris as Smithfield plant manager, the co-operative’s second female plant manager. She joined Alliance in 1998 and during this time has held roles including technical manager, group food safety & market access manager and group manager food safety and quality assurance.
She holds a Bachelor of Applied Management, Technical Industry qualifications and has recently completed the Executive Ready Programme through Monash University and Women & Leadership Australia.